Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Mac Media Center - Using A Japanese TV

Thanks to the move for the Sleepytako family we also acquired a TV--besides the microwave previously mentioned. But what good is a TV if you have nothing to watch on it? Hence the MacMini I have down there. I've seen other sites that talk about setting these up so I just wanted to add my few notes about doing it with a Japanese model Sharp Aquos flat screen.
  • Connecting via a DVI-HDMI cable there is no need to fine tune the resolution as other sites say. All you need is to set the screen size to underscan.
  • These Sharp models have an English menu option. Even though I can read my way through the Japanese menus having an English option is recommended.
  • The audio goes from the back of the MacMini into the TV via a male-male headphone patch cord. You'll have to set the TV so that the audio is not coming over the HDMI but via the audio in.
  • I'm using Plex for my media center. It's totally recommended. The video plugins offer up a ton of free content like The Daily Show, PBS, CBC and others. Some are blocked from outside of the USA (Sesame Street for some reason) but many work just fine. Not only that and most important. My wife can understand it too.
  • I've yet to get a remote so I'm using a wired Buffalo Mac keyboard (¥1,000 at Softmap in Namba) and my Logitec bluetooth mouse (¥2,800 from a DenDen town computer shop) until I get a remote.
  • I tried to use 1070p but it made web browsing impossible. Even trying to set the font size and installing a large theme for Firefox. Going down to 720p has made web broswing easy on the big screen. Tweaking the view options in OSX also helps.
  • If you want to get a Digital tuner to use the Mac to record TV I've seen this for sale at Yodobashi, but I've not got it myself. I-O Data makes a version too. I've seen a cable TV tuner also, but I can't find it online.
  • Those green straps? Earthquake protection.

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